A lasting tribute to the incomparable Mr. Joe Longthorne MBE
Joseph Patrick Longthorne MBE (31st May 1955 – 3rd August 2019)
was an English singer and impressionist. He performed on stage and television, and released three platinum albums. Joe started his TV career at the age of fourteen when he landed a part in Yorkshires Televisions series Junior Showtime and rose to popularity in 1981 through the London Weekend Television series Search For a Star, leading to his own television series The Joe Longthorne Show.Joe was born in Hull, England, into a musical family of a "travelling, Romany background". He grew up in the Hessle Road area of Hull, known for its fishing community, and considered himself as a "Hessle Roader". He attended Villa Place Primary School, St Wilfred's Primary School and Sydney Smith High School.Joe came first in a talent show when he was six; his prize was a toy motor car. At fourteen he landed a part in Yorkshire Televisions series Junior Showtime, and remained with the show for over two years. He later turned professional and earned a living in Northern working mans clubs. Joe appeared on television in 1981, through the London Weekend Television series Search For a Star, where he performed as a singer and impressionist, his success on the show led to appearances at the London Palladium and a month-long season at London's Talk of the Town. He played the London Palladium many times.In 1988 he presented his own television series The Joe Longthorne Show.He appeared regularly on several TV programmes in the 1980s, amongst which the notable ones are Les Dennis Laughter Show and the Royal Variety Performance. He performed in theatres in the United States and at the Sydney Opera House Joe also released three platinum albums for Telstar, The Joe Longthorne Songbook, Especially For You and The Joe Longthorne Christmas Album.
Joe was well known for his renditions of songs in the style of Dame Shirley Bassey, His other impersonations included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Sir Tom Jones, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis and the unforgettable Matt Monro etc.
The Variety Club awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007; this placed him amongst past recipients such as Frank Sinatra,Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald to name but a few!Joe was appointed A Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to charity.
Joe lived in Blackpool LancashireJoe was first diagnosed at Leeds General Hospital with Non Hodgkinson’s Lymphoma, for which he received treatment, around the time of his appearance at the Royal Variety Performance in 1989. He continued to perform in spite of his illness. However, in 2005 the lymphoma degenerated into Leukaemia, CCL, and he underwent a bone marrow transplant. In 2014, Joe was found to have mouth cancer, but remained adamant in newspaper interviews that he would continue to perform after his operation. Sadly Joe died at his adopted home in Blackpool on 3rd August 2019, aged 64.He is interred at Layton Cemetery in Blackpool.Joe leaves behind his son Ricky, grandchildren, beloved elder sister Ann and all the family in Hull along with others around the world, be they family or fan everyone is truly heartbroken yet full of wonderful memories of a young cheeky chappie who grew up into one of our very finest and most loved entertainers and synonymous with “Say it with Flowers” he will always remain x Mike Ellis. Ph.D.